Online Public Speaking

Training & Practice


Writing a Great Maid of Honor Speech


Here’s the big one. It’s time to choose what to say.

There you are, microphone in hand, the audience expectant, the bride and groom looking at you, and it’s the moment when what you say can impact everyone in the room. 

By now you have considered your audience and what they want to hear. You’ve chosen a topic about which you feel passionate. You ideally have a unique perspective. Right? If not, think about these elements of your speech or go back and re-watch those sections. 

When you have these down, it’s time to write your speech. We’ll give you some guidance in the form of an outline for a typical speech. We don’t mean “typical” in a bad way, but in the sense of what people are used to hearing and what time normally allows. Note there are some really unusual speeches in our sample speeches area if you want to go off the beaten path.

Inroduction

First, the introduction. Every speech starts with an introduction. By definition it’s impossible not to have one. We recommend one of two approaches.

The first option is to introduce yourself, say something nice about the occasion and say “thank you” for being given the honor of being the Maid of Honor and the chance to give the toast. Then get into your speech. Those pleasantries are expected so it’s always safe to say them, even if you plan on busting out a rap for your main speech or something unusual afterwards.

Also, feel free to acknowledge a couple of key people in your introduction, the hosts, the mother and father of the bride, the sister who flew in from Australia, and so on. It makes everyone feel happy. Start using humor early on if that’s your style, or to be sweet explain that it took the sister 22 hours to get here.

The second option is what we call the “dive right in” approach. This somewhat advanced technique can be very effective. Instead of going into thank you and acknowledgements you can go right into a story. Literally take the microphone and say “The first time I saw these two together was at the beach…” There’s something calming about diving right in; perhaps it releases the tension from the audience by breaking a pattern they expect to hear, including a nervous speaker who doesn’t sound like they know what to say.  You can then say some pleasant expected things later towards the end of the speech.

Given the choice we like the second option if for no other reason it’s used less often.

Main body

After the intro comes the main body. This is where you’re going to take your unique perspective and passionate subjects and wow the audience.  Start by saying something like “since this is such a special occasion I spent a lot of time thinking about what this really means” or “I’m going to sing a song that explains everything” or “I think a little history is in order here to truly explain how these two people ended up happily married”. People love a good story, and people really love a good love story.

As for the actual sentences that fill up this main body, if you’re not sure how to write it we recommend trying to tell the story out loud to yourself or someone who’s willing to listen. There’s nothing wrong with writing like we speak – although within reason. Talk it out. Tell the story. Explain what you think and feel.

By the way, we offer an in-depth module called How to Write a Great Presentation. If you would like  more guidance than what is offered this module,  check it out.

A word of caution about the speech building tools on the internet that allow you to literally plug in a name here and there and spit out a complete, totally canned speech: these will result in an impersonal, boring speech that will make you sound like a complete stranger.  Don’t use these. The audience will suffer for it and you’ll regret it. Plus, you owe it to them to put some effort into this. You can think of something to say.

If you find yourself truly stuck, we offer personal coaching sessions during which you can get help choosing the words for your speech. You can also ask someone you trust for help.

Back to the main body. If you’re using humor, throw in a few jokes. If you’re using the “sweet” approach, make sure to say some especially kind things. Be specific and intentional, but not obvious or syrupy.  If you like the historical approach, tell a brief story that’s likely to interest the entire room, not just you and your girlfriends.

Ensure what you say is appropriate and won’t offend anyone. Dirty jokes usually aren’t acceptable at weddings, neither are stories that shouldn’t be told to anyone. Even if you are a professional standup comic, be careful. Also, avoid using implied sarcasm with jokes towards anyone, especially the bride or the groom. There’s a How To wedding speech video floating around that we’ve seen where the (fake) Maid of Honor says “I remember when Jane met Bob. He fell flat on his face on their first date. Ha ha ha.” It wasn’t funny, nor was it cool to try and make someone sound like a moron. Stay away from that kind of stuff.

Length

As to length, keep it relatively short unless you’re feeling confident AND you have a bunch of great stuff to say. To pick a number let’s say under 5 minutes.  The general rule is when in doubt, keep it short. The audience may be nervous for you, because they’re all picturing themselves up there in the same situation, so dragging it out can make it feel endless. Plus people want to get back to what they were doing—eating, drinking, dancing and being merry. Also, the event is usually timed. Going way over the allocated time means extra costs or less time for something else that was planned.  

Conclusion

To end your speech, just make it heartfelt. Everyone wants it and they kind of need it. It’s like the end of the movie when all the emotions come together.

Say something like “seriously (if you’ve been using humor), these two people are so important to me” or “that’s the story of how we got here, now the story is about the future. No one knows what life will bring, but I can tell you right at this very moment what I see. I see two people who found each other among seven billion, despite the sheer odds and uncertainty of it all, and I see a unique love and commitment that makes me proud to be a part of this moment.”

And last, because people have been doing it for thousands of years and everyone expects it, say “now, let’s raise our glasses and toast the new bride and groom”, or something like that. Or come up with something clever to replace that ritual so you don’t have to wonder to yourself why we’re still calling it a “toast” after all these years. Regardless, bask in the smiles and applause of the entire audience and know that it was a job well done.

Next up in your quest to give the greatest wedding speech ever is learning HOW to give your speech.